Back in March 2020, Glasgow’s Golden Generation closed its 3 day centres across the city to protect their older adults, volunteers and staff. Like everyone, at the time the charity hoped they would reopen in a matter of weeks but those weeks have turned to months to over a year.
However, with the vaccination programme well underway and with Scotland slowly coming out of lockdown, the charity plans to have all three day centres reopened by mid August.
Glasgow’s Golden Generation has three day centres in the west, east and south of the city with all areas within the Glasgow City Council boundary covered.
Over the past year not a day goes by without a phone call from a service user who wants to know when the centres will reopen.
With ongoing restrictions easing, the Fred Paton Centre in the west of the city reopened on Monday, 26 July and will be followed by the Mattie Carwood Centre in the east on Monday, 2 August and David Cargill Centre in the south on Monday, 9 August.
Crucially, the charity has also launched a new fundraising drive to raise the necessary funds to reopen all services face to face in the coming weeks.
As the centres have been used as busy food hubs delivering over 23k food parcels to older adults since March 2020, a lot of work is being done to make them welcoming for older adults once more.
This includes painting, decorating, new Covid protocols, training and much more to ensure the centres are able to run like clockwork when reopening.
The day centres will also be run at a loss initially with health and safety a priority.
While centres have a usual running capacity of up to 120 older adults per day across the city, initially less than a third of this will be able to attend.
Each centre will welcome 12 service users each day with additional measures in place to make the environment as Covid secure as possible.
This is to ensure safety of all service users, staff and volunteers and will be reviewed as restrictions continue to ease.
Fred Paton Day Centre attendee Agnes said:
“Being picked up to go to the centre this morning was like getting out of prison after a long sentence.
“I’ve spent so much time indoors over the last 18 months with my family visiting but not daring to come in because they wanted to keep me safe.
“It was just lovely to get on the bus and see some familiar faces again.
“Lockdown was a long and lonely time, I’m just glad to be back.”
GGG’s CEO, Richard Donald added:
“Seeing what the charity has achieved in the last year has been truly humbling but the message from our service users has been overwhelming – they want to get back into the day centres again.
“Our priority is and always has been the safety and health of our older adults so we have been holding off until restrictions ease.
“That said we appreciate what a lifeline the charity is to older adults in the city so now is the right time to open, with plenty of health and safety measures in place.”
Service users old and new will be welcomed back to the day centres over the coming months. As before the pandemic, pick up and drop off by accessible mini-bus will be available and all service users will enjoy a 3 course lunch each day.
Places should be booked in advance to ensure suitability and that there are sufficient places available due to reduced capacity at this time.
Activities vary by location, but day centre visitors are encouraged to contribute ideas and suggest the activities they enjoy. These include carpet bowls, cookery sessions, knitting groups, singing groups, bingo and much more.